What's OPD?

Some of you may have noticed, and perhaps been confused by, a new option in the Member Type section of the Participant Detail screen. That new option is OPD.

OPD stands for Ongoing (or Outreach) Professional Development.

Why did we create this new category?

When analyzing at past data, we noticed that there were a lot of Participants in the system with 0 hours or with very few hours. Perhaps they came to a training or two, but never really got involved in the program.

Leaving these Participants unclassified means that they're basically lost when it comes to a lot of the reports we run and marking them as CMs would invariably hurt your Collaborative's average CM hours. So we created this new Member Type to cover these participants.

Who should you mark as an OPD Participant?

Basically, anyone you enter into the database, who is not a CM or MTM/STM should be marked as OPD. These kinds of participants might include:

Participants who started the program, but dropped out.
Administrators or others who audit a training or two, but aren't really participating in the program.
Attendees of conference sessions held by the collaborative.

So why should we do this?

Using the OPD classification allows us to show a greater reach, beyond our normal professional development programs. For example, we might reach X amount of CMs and MTM/STMs, which is very good, but being able to show that we're also reaching Y amount of educators beyond that number makes sure that you get more credit for your hard work.

Do we have to use the OPD level?

This year (2008-2009), it's voluntary. We're basically experimenting with new ways to track participants that allow us to demonstrate the true reach of the TRC system of professional development. Of course, any feedback is appreciated.


NCLB form typo and work-around

A couple people have pointed this out to me, so I'm letting everyone know what's up and how to deal with it.

In the Certification tab of the Participant Detail form, there's a "typo". The paper Participant Data Form you have says "NCLB? Yes/No/Don't know", while the online DataCenter form says "NCLB? Science/Math/Don't know".

I can't fix this easily, as it's not really just a typo but rather an incorrect data field. So here's what we're going to do.

If you're entering a Science participant and the paper form is marked "yes", then check the "Science" checkbox. Likewise, if you're entering a Math participant, check "Math" for "yes". Don't know is of course still don't know and if "No", then just don't check anything.

If you've entered NCLB info for a bunch of participants some other way don't panic, we'll sort it out later. Just make a note of it and move on for now.


DataCenter FAQ #1

To make sure we share as much knowledge as possible, I'm going to start re-printing Questions I receive through email to this blog.

Can I change the number of years the participant has been a teacher and been a member of the collaborative?

Yes. The years of experience we're getting from TEA won't reflect years spent teaching out-of-state or at a private school, university/college, etc.

How do we check to see if they are in the math too? so the math secretary and I don't duplicate the information?

You may want to talk to your counterpart to come up with a strategy that works best for you, but you can always do a search for a Participant before you enter them into the system, if you think they might be in both programs.

To do this...
You can simply do a quick scan by switching to the Participant List view and sorting entered participants by name. You can also search for a specific name by clicking the search button (there's one on the Participant List view and the Participant Detail View) filling in the name you're looking for and pressing the enter key.

As this is the first year we've combined the two databases, we of course welcome any feedback and suggestions for making this work smoother.

I clicked on the new use master tab and typed in a name of a participant from last year and nothing pops up? should I just do a new record?

The name TEA knows a teacher by might not be the name that teacher writes on their form. For example: TEA might not know who Bob Wilson or Maggie Smith are, but they do know who Robert Wilson and Margaret Smith are. So you might want to try name variations or the formal versions of names, just to make sure.

If that still turns up no correct matches, then yes, you'll need to just use the "New Record" button and enter their information manually. For their School/District info you can click the "Change School (TEA)" button to choose their school from the TEA's list.

Refer to the Changing Schools article for further help with this part.


DataCenter Backups

Just an FYI, but I wanted to let everyone know that to protect our data I have the new system set to backup the whole database twice a day. The backup process is set to run at 6:30am and 6:30pm every day.

The backup process is quick and shouldn't have a noticeable impact on system performance.

Also, each backup file (14 files per week) are currently being kept for one week--just in case!


DataCenter Host Information

The DataCenter Documentation has been updated with the correct connection host information. This information had been previously emailed to all registered users, but is now also available online.

Connecting to a remote host in Filemaker

Apologies for any confusion.


How soon is now?

I know people have been asking me when the DataCenter will be available and I keep saying "soon--very soon", like a broken record.

Well, today's the day.

The new TRC DataCenter is now online and ready for users.

Access information will be emailed to registered users shortly.


QUick Help Guides Now Online

To give everyone a head-start on getting their data-entry on, I've created three Quick Help Guides which contain a boiled down version of the DataCenter Documentation covering the topics of entering new participants and creating events. This information should help everyone get started using the DataCenter immediately. Of course the online documentation will still be useful for more indepth questions.

Look for more Quick Help Guides and documentation updates to be comeing soon.


New Wiki Entry on Math + Science Integration

Since the new DataCenter will feature Math and Science data being integrated into the same system, I write up a special tech-note on the topic.

Please read. :-)

A Note on Math + Science Data Integration


DataCenter Documentation is now online!

The first round of documentation for the new DataCenter is now online!

DataCenter Documentation

Please read the documentation thoroughly before using the DataCenter and be sure to refer back to it when you have questions.

I will be updating it and adding new information on a regular basis, so make sure to check back often. I will also be adding an FAQ as questions, which cannot be answered by the documentation, make their way to my inbox.


What's your Filemaker Status?

If you have Filemaker 9 installed on your system, please let me know so I can put you on the ready list.


Filemaker License Email to Project Directors

I have not send out an email to each Project Director (one per collaborative) containing the Filemaker license information for that collaborative.

The full text of the email is below for future reference--minus the actual license number of course.


The new TRC DataCenter will be released soon. This email contains information to help get ready for that release. Please read it carefully and save it for future reference. There is also a link below to additional information, which should answer most questions that you may have.

As mentioned at the Project Directors meeting, the new DataCenter is based on the Filemaker Pro platform. This means that in order to access the DataCenter all users must first have Filemaker Pro installed on their computer.

The TRC is providing each collaborative with one (1) Filemaker Pro license to get you started. Any additional licenses required by your collaborative will need to be acquired by the each collaborative itself.

To download the software, documentation and to read more license and installation information, please visit this link:

The above link should answer most questions about the TRC provided Filemaker license.

Your collaborative's License Information:

When installing the software, it will as for an organization name and a license/serial number to be entered. Use the information below to fill in that form.


License Number:

Yes, for the purpose of this license you must enter your organization as "UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS".

The reason for this is that we purchased these licenses using UT's contract with Filemaker, so they are registered to UT. Any additional licenses purchased by you or your organization would of course be licensed to you/your organization.

Note: The license above is good for only one (1) installation. Please do not attempt to use this license code to install the software on more than one system.

If you have any additional questions, please let me know.



Filemaker Information

A new wiki page has been added with information about Filemaker and the TRC provided license.

New DataCenter Filemaker Pro Information

License codes will be emailed out to each collaborative today.


New DataCenter Login Information

An email has been sent to each DataCenter user containing their login information for the new DataCenter for the 2008-2009 grant year. If you have not received your information or need to make a change to your information or, if you are a Project Director, add a user, then please contact Stephen Gray asap.




This is a test post for the new DataCenter blog.

Stay tuned for moreinformation about the new TRC DataCenter.